Monday, December 25, 2006

$2,200 = Rich. Half the world lives on less than $2

After giving and receiving some lovely gifts. It's important to also remember the poor on Christmas day. MSN.Com ran a Marketwatch article today that was really interesting. Here's the opening paragraphs:

The richest 2% of the world's population owns more than half of the world's household wealth.
You may believe you've heard this statistic before, but you haven't: For the first time, personal wealth -- not income -- has been measured around the world. The findings may be surprising, for what makes people "wealthy" across the world spectrum is a relatively low bar.
The research indicates that assets of just $2,200 per adult place a household in the top half of the world's wealthiest. To be among the richest 10% of adults in the world, just $61,000 in assets is needed. If you have more than $500,000, you're part of the richest 1%, the United Nations study says. Indeed, 37 million people now belong in that category.
Half live on less than $2 a day

Sure, you can now be proud that you're rich. But take a moment to think about it, and you'll probably come to realize that the meaning behind these numbers is harrowing. For if it takes just a couple of thousand dollars to qualify as rich in this world, imagine what it means to be poor. Half the world, nearly 3 billion people, live on less than $2 a day. The three richest people in the world –- Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, investor Warren Buffett and Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim HelĂș -- have more money than the poorest 48 nations combined.
Even relatively developed nations have low thresholds of per person capital. For example, people in India have per capita assets of $1,100. In Indonesia, capital amounts to $1,400 per person.

Here's a link to the full article:

They don't list the per capita income of Peru. I know that 25% of Peru (roughly 8 million people) live on less than $1 per day. That's poor! People ask me what the cause is. I don't know enough about the country to answer conclusively, but I do think that dishonesty in the culture is a big contributor. A lack of natural resources and education are other factors. Natural resources is an ironic thing to list, since Peru has a lot of gold and silver. Unfortunately, only 3% of the land is farmable. Gold is pretty, but it's hard to eat.

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